Flying With A Toddler: An Open Letter To My Wife

Xavier and AngelaHi Sweetie!

So you and Xavier are about to visit Grandpa, your first solo flight with our little guy. It's going to be great! And since I’ve done the solo flight thing twice, I’m here to offer you some tips on making it through the plane ride.

First up: People will help you. The first time I took Xavier on a plane, he couldn’t walk. When it came time to fold up the stroller to go through security, I needed two hands. I couldn’t just plop him on the ground, could I? Luckily, this very nice woman behind me saw my plight and offered to hold our boy. Oh, I never told you I let a complete stranger hold Xavier, that I didn’t first drown her in hand sanitizer? Well, we can laugh about it now, right?

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Next, airport floors are clean. Yeah, so, um, on our return trip home, Xavier still couldn’t walk, and that pesky stroller still needed to be folded up. Now before I go further, let’s remember that this was last August, well in the past, and Xavier is a robust, healthy child. I laid him on the floor. Gently. No one stepped on him. What a funny story this is turning out to be.

Have lots of food. And make sure he likes it. The last time Xavier and I flew, I was loaded with goodies. That was fortuitous, because when I gave him the grilled cheese sandwich—manna from heaven at home—he took one bite and made the face that let’s you know mealtime is going to be part performance art. Grandma and Granddad use a different brand of cheese than we do. Luckily, though, I had backups to my backups. Two words for you: banana slices.

Wear comfortable shoes. Twice, our flights have been delayed. The first time, Xavier couldn’t walk. The second time, I was trapped with an energetic, curious toddler. Don’t stifle him! Let him walk wherever he wants for however long he wants. By the time the plane took off, he was ready to knock out. (So was I). I sat him in the seat beside me and he fell asleep resting his head on my thigh. Oh, I never mentioned that I initially didn’t put a seatbelt around him? Funny story about that. See, what had happened was…well, those are details you don’t need to know. We made it home in one piece, right?

Study the seating chart when you check in. See if there’s a row that has two open seats, and move to it. Hopefully no one else will buy it. That extra seat came in handy when Xavier decided Daddy’s lap wasn’t big enough for him.

It’s only a few hours of your life. And his. Time doesn’t fly when you’re on an airplane with an unhappy toddler. It seems to stand still. But it’s not frozen. Two minutes of ear-piercing crying is still 120 seconds closer to landing. And I promise that you will never see any of your fellow passengers ever again.

That’s my advice. Remember how I slept for 13 straight hours once I got home? That exhaustion stemmed from the entire trip, not the plane ride home. I miss you two already, and I’ll see you when you get home. I’ll have the bed sheets turned down for you.

Hugs, Kisses and Love,

Your dear husband

What were your memorable moments from taking your baby on a plane?

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